My trip to Nashville to see Ashley was long overdue. It was a much needed change of scenery. I've been to Nashville a few times and every trip I see something new. Thanks for being a tourist with me in your own town Ash!!
Friday night Ashley took me to the best family style restaurant, Monell's. I was already excited about the food, but we actually shared one of the most surreal moments I have experienced in a long time. At Monell's the tables seat about 12 people. They keep seating folks until the table is full. They also just keep bringing out huge bowls of food that everyone shares and passes around. We were sat first and then joined by what appeared to be a family. Conversation came easily and steadily as we passed and ate and ate and ate. We soon discovered that the wife in one of the couple's was a UGA alumna. The father of two little boys was sitting next to me. The young boys were inquisitive and so animated, they were very interested in Ashley and I and a little confused as to why were eating dinner with them. It was adorable. They also had no problem hanging with the adults when it came to puttin' down the grub. We chatted about how there were actually five generations of their family sitting at our table. Then, it was revealed that they were actually there to celebrate a 50th birthday of a woman who could have barely passed for 30, much less 50!!! They very generously included us in their private celebration as if we had known them forever. Not only did they share a delicious homemade cake that they had specially prepared by a fellow church member, when Ashley and I said our goodbyes and went to pay our bill ... we were told it had already been taken care of. The patriarch of the family was treating his brood to a special meal and without any fanfare, he selflessly included us on his tab. It was such an unexpected act of kindness that Ash and I were stunned into silence. We just kept repeating "that was so nice" all the way home. It certainly humbled me and gave me a renewed faith in the generosity of strangers. The meal was fantastic and one I won't soon forget.
Monell's has the most hilarious "receipt" system. Once they take your last plate away, they drop this at your spot on the table. The card says, "I've eaten and I can't get up!" and is such an accurate description of how you feel.
Saturday was downtown day. We ate lunch at Jack's BBQ, which was incredibly tasty and VERY filling. I recommend the pork bbq and the crazy delicious mac & cheese.
We also hung out at Layla's to see one of Ashley's favorite local bands Jypsi. They are a sibling ensemble and they absolutely blew the doors off the place. They have unique style and sound. Fantastic song writing skills and the lead singer has some major chops.
There was a round of shopping (mostly browsing) at some superb little boutiques. My favorite was Bookman/Bookwoman. A charming discount bookstore that I could have spent decades in. After a quick pit-stop at the house, we decided to have a girl's movie night since ACDC was in town and everything else was packed. The cinematic choice, without hesitation, was Revolutionary Road. It was fantastic. Every honor and accolade it has garnered is well deserved. Kate and Leo were fantastic. They were incredibly raw and believable. Just a head's up, the story was very dark and if you were expecting a silver lining at the end ... there isn't one. Nashville is great. Hopefully I'll be able to get back again sometime soon.